Press Club Programme

  • Date : 14th March 2009, 2.15pm – 4.15pm
  • Venue : Press Club Ernakulam
  • Attendance : ~25
  • Audience : Journalists, Reporters, Press Academy Students,
    Free Software Community Members

Report in The Hindu

Press Club, Ernakulam had organized a workshop on Free Software for the people working in Newspapers and other Media ILUG Cochin was invited to handle the workshop by the Press Club, Ernakulam. This in fact was due to the good relationship maintained by the group with the people in the Media.

Free Software Movement by Jay Jacob

The session started by talking about the Freedoms that form the foundation for principles of Free Software. The speaker explained with examples the concept of Free Software and how the community worked together to create technology for the benefit of mankind.

The talk turned towards the history of the Free Software movement and about Richard Mathew Stallman, the founder of the GNU Movement. The speaker then explained the series of events that lead to the birth of GNU/Linux.

The importance of Freedom was explained by comparing the situation to “India’s Struggle for Freedom. The audience were subscribing well to the important aspect of the speech.

The talk then explained the basic copyright concept and how the copyleft concept created by the Free Software movement helped protect the Freedom of users.

As the talk was winding up, lot of questions we raised, especially on Licenses, copyright, sharing and distributing free software for money. The ambiguity in the term Free as in Freedom was also clarified.

Demonstration of a Free Software Operating System : Debian GNU/Linux by Sreenadh

The demonstration started with the basic login screen of the OS. The speaker touched upon the basic aspects of a Free Software Desktop Environment . He explained the fundamental concepts behind a Desktop Environment He then proceeded to explain a few basic applications for daily use belonging to the following categories:

Iceweasal, Pidgin,Empathy
VLC, Totem, Kino
Office/ Productivity
Openoffice, Abiword
Desktop Publishing
Inkscape, GIMP

There were lot of questions on using Malayalam with OpenOffice. The speaker explained the answers in a very efficient manner, thereby satisfying the audience queries.

Free Software in Schools and Malayalam Computing by Sanal Kumar Sir

Sanal Kumar sir touched upon the importance and relevance of teaching Free Software in Schools. He talked extensively about the present level of implementation and the problems faced. He delved deep into how the community can find solutions for the issues faced and how they can effectively work with the teachers to improve the present curriculum so that it can bring out the true power of Free Software.

The speaker next explained the importance of the Malayalam language and how free software and projects like “Swathanthra malayalam computing” have enabled the language to reach leaps and bounds. The talk also touched upon the possibilities of Malayalam blogging and how the Internet was a new arena that was allowing the language to expand its horizon.

Concluding Session

The concluding session saw Sameer finally explaining the name change of the group and the vision and future of the group. The press club secretary thanked the ILUG Cochin Members for their cooperation with the Media and concluded the session.

ILUG Cochin thanks Anand Haridas of “The Hindu” for having taken the initiative to bring the Free Software Community closer to the Media by conducting this event, and hope that more events of this nature happen in the future.

Participated ILUG Cochin Members

  • Sreenadh
  • Binny V A
  • Jay Jacob
  • Sanal Kumar
  • Kevin Sha
  • Sameer Mohamed Thahir
  • Hari
  • Bilal
  • Prinson

February 2009 Meeting Report

Warm Greetings To The FOSS Community,

The Meeting for the month of February 2009 was conducted successfully.

Report in “The Hindu”

The turnout at the meeting was pretty impressive compared to the last few months. The interesting thing was that, the people who came were from varied fields:

– Teachers
– Journalists
– Students
– Hardware Vendors and Service Providers
– Neurosurgeon, Psychiatrist
– System Administrators
– Accountant
– Programmers
– Vigilance
– Business Manger

The Meeting agenda was planned in accordance with the ongoing initiative to bring the teachers closer to the Free Software Community.

This time we had a better turnout with 4 teachers attending the meeting. Two of them were master trainers in the district. There were also two other people related to educational sector, one providing support to the teachers and the other a computer lab in charge.

Following is a brief snapshot of the meeting.

Date : 22-02-2009
Time : 2:15pm – 6.00pm
Venue : Internet Club, IInd Floor, AMI Trust Building
Broadway Enclave, Broadway, Ernakulam
Attendance : 30

– The first session as usual was an Introduction to Free Software, GNU Movement, Open Source Software, Licenses and GNU/Linux Distributions.

– There were lot of questions from among the audience, especially on the License.

“Debian GNU/Linux v5.0 Lenny”

– The release of Lenny has been one of the most anticipated events in the Free Software World, and we started our meeting with a brief discussion about the Debian Project, its goals and how it was a true community project. The discussion was interesting because it was centered around GNU/Linux Distributions.

– The presentation used was the one from Jaldhar H Vyas, an Official Debian developer.

– After the presentation many among the audience were eager to install Debian Lenny on their personal machines, for which we had a couple of DVD Sets available.

– Since many people were new to GNU/Linux, we decided to do a parallel session on Debian Installation.

Agenda: How the community can come closer to Teachers and students?

– The discussion moved into top gear with teachers, students, hardware vendors and managers come together to discuss, how the Free Software community can embrace the Teachers and students.

– Many people proposed solutions, but the implementation was difficult, due to the politics involved in the educational sector and the lack of vision among the teachers.

– The teachers explained that the basic technical issues faced in schools, were the major hurdle that was preventing the teachers from gaining confidence to use Free Software.

– The teachers also emphasized the lack of proper knowledge among the top level trainers. The direct impact was that the knowledge was almost nil when it finally reached the students.

– This was a major hurdle for students to think out of the box with Free Software and teachers to properly guide them.

– Many also criticized the syllabus which was just another conventional model one.

One person commented that if the school IT syllabus could be formulated through collaboration over the Internet with people from the Free Software Community and Teaching community. The same was suggested for Textbook content

Problems faced by teachers :

– Lack of core knowledge, apart from basic operating knowledge.

– Lack of support for common hardware problems.

– Lack of interaction with community.

– Lack of time for teaching IT and Free Software Subjects.

– Lack of knowledge on the possibilities of Free Software.

– How to effectively teach Free Software ( not just as an alternative).

How the community can help

– Conduct training sessions

– Brainstorming with people from community and teachers.

– Build community based support centres.

– Involve teachers and students in all Free Software community activities.

– Build up a suitable syllabus for the curriculum.

– Create suitable content for textbooks.

– Initiate formation of high school groups.

– Try to improvise the teaching methods used for IT.

Some immediate action items were listed as follows


– Involve more teachers interested in collaborating with the Free Software Community.

– Vacation classes for students and teachers, in the model of “Swathanthra Software Sangamam”

– More interaction of teachers with ILUG Cochin and thereby finding solutions for their own problems.

Everyone moved on to have Tea and snacks.

After the tea break, it was time for the technical presentation

– Teachers are not introduced to Command Line tools.

This makes it very difficult for them to understand the core working and also makes them crippled to handle situations where the problem requires more than a “few clicks”.

Technical Presentation: Command Line Utilities by Sameer

The session started of with discussing about the basic GNU/Linux Filesystem.

– Different directories were explained

– The significance of the contents of the directories and their relevance for users were explained.

– Device Files and Names of common devices were explained.

– FHS was mentioned.

Next the session moved onto command line Utilities

– fdisk

– mkfs.ext3

– tar

– gzip.gunzip

– bzip2.bunzip2

– mount,umount

– Questions like formatting USB Disks to using the apt-get tool in Debian were raised.


-The meeting concluded with the teachers expressing their support to realize the action items mentioned above.

The plans to change the name of the group was also mentioned.

The meeting concluded at 6.00pm.

– As usual, there were tons of questions being fired from different locations as soon as the meeting got over. Many of them were answered personally for the person in question. Although not everyone got his answer, they returned with the hope of finding it through the Mailing List.

We thank the following teachers who spend their valuable time for our initiative.

– V.K.Nizar

– Sanal Kumar

– Jayadevan

– Antony

We thank all the attendees for coming and urge them to put their feedback on the mailing list so we can improve future meetings.

And hope the next meeting is bigger and better.


Roshin Roy

Sunil Kumar A U

Siby P Varkey

R Satheesh

Dr. Tharun Krishna

A X Antony

Arun Aravind

Rahul R Kumar

Shaun Thomas

Jennings Joseph

Johny Thomas

Sanal Kumar

Rajesh V

Azad N

Dileep A Z

Kevin Sha

G Venkata Subrahmanian

S Anandan

Akbar Ali

V K Nizar

C S Jayadevan

Binny V A

Shibin K Reeny

Kurian Mathew Thayyil

Ajith C




Jay Jacob


Directions to Meeting Venue

The ILUG Cochin Official Meeting Venue at Broadway(Near Marine Drive)
in the heart of Ernakulam (Kochi ) City. Broadway is located very close to
the Arabian Sea.

By Road

If you are coming from Kottayam Side, you can take the route through Vyttila
into the city.

If coming from Thrissur (NH47) you can take the route from Aluva to reach City,
If coming through NH17 take a deviation from Edapally Junction to enter into the

From Idukki district, if coming through Perumbavoor, you can get a direct bus to
Aluva/ Ernakulam.

By Rail

You can get down at Ernakulam Town Railway station (closer) or Ernakulam Junction
which are both within the city.

By Air

After reaching Nedumbassery Airport, take a prepaid taxi to Ernakulam City or take a bus to
Aluva/ Ernakulam.

After Reaching City

If by Bus take a bus that goes through Menaka route and get
down at Menaka Stop, (Near Marine Drive). The venue is only
walkable distance from the Bus Stop. Proceed towards Broadway
through the entrance at the front of the church. Else after getting
down at Bus Stop, take a shortcut through the Penta Menaka
Shopping complex to enter Broadway.

This shortcut takes you to the front of Alappat Super Shoppe
(consumer electronics store). Take the small way on the right
of the building that houses this shop. As you reach the end of the
building,you will notice the board of SBT and of Jay’s Internet Cafe.
An entrance with iron grills on the left will take you inside the
building. The venue is located at the Second floor.

Please feel free to call at any of the following numbers in case of

Feel Free to call the numbers below
for any further information
Tel:+91 9|4|4|7|1|1|1|7|7|1
Tel:+91 9|9|9|5|7|1|7|1|1|2
Tel:+91 9|7|4|7|1|7|3|4|3|2
Tel:+91 9|4|9|6|4|4|9|9|6|9
Tel:+91 484 2|3|7|4|8|6|2 ( Venue )
Tel:+91 484 4|0|2|5|0|7|7 ( Venue )